Let me start with good news. You won’t face any particularly difficult questions in your interview for a job of a Welder. What’s more, welders are in a high demand right now. Unless you remain silent when they ask you their questions, or make a bad impression with your answers, they will hire you for this job.
Let’s have a look at the questions you will likely face in your interview, and how you should answer each one. After reading my advice, try to think about your answer to each question for a minute or two. You can even say them out loud to yourself, or write them down. Let’s start!
Can you please tell us something about your education and experience?
They are interested only in relevant stuff. That means your studies at a community college welding school, any welding apprenticeship you went through, certifications you managed to get, welding tests you passed.
The same applies to your employment. Welding is such a specific activity that other jobs will hardly prepare us for the work. I mean, if you worked in a supermarket or call center, it won’t be of much help in this job. However, if you haven’t worked anywhere until this point, but helped your father to weld something in the garage, that’s a relevant experience.
The key is to convince the hiring managers that you know your stuff–at least the basics, and have some experience with welding.
Do you have any certifications? Have you passed any tests?
Speaking honestly, there are way too many tests and certifications for welders. The main purpose of them is to make money--the institutions that issue the certificates make a lot of money, because workers naively believe that they need to be certified to have access to the best job opportunities. This is not true, however.
I would say that you have two options for a good answer. First one is saying that you prefer real practice, welding different types of metals for various purposes, using a variety of techniques. You prefer to learn the job while doing the job.
Another is saying that you plan to get some certificates in the future, when the circumstances are right and you have money to pay for them. Of course if you already have a certificate, just say it to your interviewers.
What welding techniques do you know? Do you have experience with this or that type of welding?
I suggest you to do some research about your prospective employer. What’s their core business, what types of things they produce, and what welding techniques they likely use in their production cycle. The information will help you to choose the right techniques to speak about at this moment.
Whether you talk about TIG or MIG, or stick welding, try to explain exactly when you used the technique, what sort of repair or creation you’ve done with the help of it. Talking about particular things that you’ve done with the help of various techniques lends your answer more credibility.
What safety equipment do you use while welding?
Many welders take little precautions, but you cannot afford to show such attitude in your interview. If something happens to you in work, or if a safety inspector or compliance officer sees you working without a welding helmet, your employer will have to pay a hefty fine. And you will likely lose your job as as result of your negligence.
Ensure the interviewers that your safety, and safety of your colleagues, is your first priority. Therefore you always use a welding helmet (or shield), wear a respirator, boots and gloves. You may also use earplugs or bigger ear protectors, if your ears aren’t covered by your helmet. And you prefer to wear fire resistant clothing.
Your new employer will happily provide you with all these things for free.
Welding is a strenuous and physically demanding job. What do you do to maintain your focus and to stay healthy?
Working on one spot for a long time, and maintaining high attention to detail while often standing or sitting in an occurred position is tough for our body. Welders who do nothing to compensate the toll their work has on their physical and mental well-being often struggle with injuries, back problems, or with extreme fatigue.
Ensure the interviewers that you do your best to stay healthy. Maybe you do some aerobic sports, such as hiking, running, cycling. Or you art least do some yoga and stretch your back. And you do not weld things in your garage once you finally come home from work.
The key is to convince them that you do not see a job of a welder as an easy ride for big money. You understand the risks of the job, as well as the demands on your body. Therefore you do whatever you can (within your possibilities) to stay healthy, and to compensate for the toll the work has on you.
How do you feel about doing 12-hour long shifts, or about working overtime?
If they inquire about working overtime or long shifts, you can be almost certain that such things await you in your new job. Now, it doesn’t mean that you will work overtime each day. It simply can happen, when the workload is heavy or there is an urgent repair to be done.
Try to ensure the interviewers that you can maintain your focus on a long shift, and that the quality of your work won’t deteriorate much. If you did long shifts before (in one of your past jobs), you can narrate this experience. You should also show some flexibility. Surely, you have your life outside of work, and do not want to stay in the job until 8pm each day.
But when, once in a while, some job has to be done, and it cannot wait until the next day, you do not mind working overtime. This is the attitude they seek in a good job applicant. You can also say that you read the job description carefully, and understand the shift patterns, and would not apply for the job with them if you weren’t ready to do 12-hour long shifts.
What are your salary expectations?
Sooner or later, the time will come to discuss money. Many welders I know work as freelancers, and you should be flexible with this option. If your employer prefers a freelancing model, however, you should do your math before accepting any offers. Because as a freelancer you will pay social securities from your own pocket and other stuff. Hence you have to earn much more than you’d earn on the same position as a regular employee.
In any case, you should have something to backup your claims. For example, the median salary for welders in the US is about $40,000 annually. You can use the number as a benchmark, or do some additional research to know how much welders typically earn in the given industry or area.
Alternatively, when you aren’t sure, you can say that you will happily accept the starting salary they pay to each new welder. As time progresses, and you prove your skills, there will certainly be some room for a raise…
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a welding job belongs to easy job interviews. HR managers struggle to find new welders, and they often pray that you will do well in an interview, that you won’t remain silent when hearing their questions.
They will typically ask you about your education, experience, some welding techniques, safety measures, and salary. In some exceptional cases, when you apply with some tech giant or with a company that pays twice as much to their welders–and hence attracts ten times as many job applications, you can deal with some behavioral questions. But this more an exception than a rule…
Try to keep it simple. Do some research about your future employer and prepare short answers to the questions for this article. It should be enough for you to succeed.
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling nervous? You do not have to! Check our simple guide and get rid of your interview stress.
- Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to negotiate the best possible salary at the end of your welding job interview.